This major program prepares students for the study of the Earth and its ocean, and the ongoing processes of geophysical and geochemical change. Research at UM focuses on carbonate sedimentology and coral reefs, geochemistry, paleoclimate, tectonic processes (volcanoes and earthquakes), and the impact of rising sea level on coastal systems. This major is designed for students preparing for graduate study and professional careers.

Curriculum Requirements

Geological Sciences
GSC 110The Earth System4
GSC 111Earth System History4
GSC 260Earth Materials4
GSC 360Depositional and Diagenetic Systems4
GSC 380Paleontology and Stratigraphy4
GSC 440Petrology4
GSC 480Structural Geology4
GSC 482Field Methods2
MGS 513Introductory Geochemistry3
MGS 514Geophysics3
GSC 561Communicating Geoscience2
GSC 580Summer Field Geology4
Other Required Courses
CHM 121Principles of Chemistry 14
CHM 113Chemistry Laboratory I1
MTH 161Calculus I 24
or MTH 171 Calculus I
MTH 162Calculus II (fulfills the Rosenstiel BS quantitative skills requirement)4
or MTH 172 Calculus II
Select one of the following:3-4
Computer Programming I
Computer Programming II
Environmental Statistics
Introduction to Probability and Statistics
Foundations of Computational Marine Science
Analyze and Visualize Geoscience Data
Select one of the following options:10
Options 1:
College Physics I
College Physics Laboratory I
College Physics II
College Physics Laboratory II
Option 2:
University Physics I for the Sciences
College Physics Laboratory I
University Physics II for the Sciences
College Physics Laboratory II
Option 3:
University Physics I
University Physics II
University Physics III
University Physics II Lab
University Physics III Lab
Courses in approved minor 39-19
General Education Requirements
Written Communication Skills:
WRS 105First-Year Writing I3
WRS 107First-Year Writing II: STEM3
or WRS 106 First-Year Writing II
or ENG 106 Writing About Literature and Culture
Quantitative Skills:
Calculus I (fulfilled through the major)
Calculus I
Areas of Knowledge:
Arts and Humanities Cognate9
People and Society Cognate9
STEM Cognate (9 credits) (fulfilled through the major)
Additional Electives22
Total Credit Hours123

Principles of Chemistry must be passed with a grade of “C-” or higher.


Calculus I must be passed with a grade of “C-” or higher.


Approved minors are Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Climate Science and Policy, Computer Science, Ecosystem Science and Policy, Geospatial TechnologyMathematics, Marine Policy, Marine Science, Meteorology, and Physics.

This is only a sample.   There are numerous ways students can create plans of study for the B.S. in Geological Sciences major.  Students should feel empowered to use the information listed in the Academic Bulletin to take charge of their education, pursue their own academic interests, and create their own, unique plans of study.

Suggested Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
Freshman Year
FallCredit Hours
GSC 110 The Earth System 4
WRS 105 First-Year Writing I 3
MTH 161 Calculus I 4
HUM Course #1 3
 Credit Hours14
GSC 111 Earth System History 4
WRS 107 First-Year Writing II: STEM 3
MTH 162 Calculus II 4
Minor Course #1 3
 Credit Hours14
Sophomore Year
GSC 260 Earth Materials 4
CHM 121 Principles of Chemistry 4
CHM 113 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
Minor Course #2 3
PS Course #1 3
 Credit Hours15
GSC 440 Petrology 4
MSC 204 Environmental Statistics 3
HUM Course #2 3
Elective #1 4
 Credit Hours14
Junior Year
GSC 360 Depositional and Diagenetic Systems 4
PHY 201 University Physics I for the Sciences 4
PHY 106 College Physics Laboratory I 1
Minor Course #3 3
HUM Course #3 3
 Credit Hours15
GSC 231 Field Studies in Earth Systems 1 2
GSC 380 Paleontology and Stratigraphy 4
GSC 482 Field Methods 2
PHY 202 University Physics II for the Sciences 4
PHY 108 College Physics Laboratory II 1
PS Course #2 3
 Credit Hours16
GSC 580 Summer Field Geology 4
 Credit Hours4
Senior Year
MGS 514 Geophysics 3
GSC 561 Communicating Geoscience 2
Minor Course #4 3
PS Course #3 3
Elective #2 4
 Credit Hours15
GSC 480 Structural Geology 4
GSC 411 Research in Geological Sciences 1 3
MGS 513 Introductory Geochemistry 3
Minor #5 3
Elective #3 3
 Credit Hours16
 Total Credit Hours123

Recommended elective to take for the Geological Sciences B.S. major.


The mission of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is to deepen our collective knowledge of our planet through cutting-edge scientific research on the oceans, atmosphere, geology, biota, and the human dimension, while training the next generation of scientists. We transfer the knowledge gained to our students, the national and international scientific community, and to policymakers and the public.

The educational mission of the BS degree in Geological Sciences at the University of Miami is to graduate students with the ability and desire to integrate knowledge of geological science into their future careers. 


In a time of increasing stress on Earth’s resources, land, oceans and environment, we strive to train our students in both the fundamentals of the Geological Sciences and natural systems and also the global environmental stresses facing Earth and society. In addition to the basic classroom and hands-on education in the various aspects of the Geological Sciences, we focus on preparing our undergraduate students in three critical areas: extensive field training and research to give students competence in dealing with the complexities of the real world; training in written and oral communication to give them competence in sharing their accumulating knowledge with their peers and also with the public; and an understanding of how increased human population and resource use is affecting Earth’s climate, environment and future character.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate a strong knowledge base in the basics of geological sciences materials, history and processes (as provided in our GSC 110, 111, and 260 courses).
  • Students will demonstrate a competent knowledge base in the following advanced sub-disciplines of geological sciences: sedimentology, stratigraphy, structural geology, paleontology/paleoecology, geochemistry, geophysics, and petrology.
  • Students will demonstrate research competence in supervised research projects through course, employment, and/or a Senior Thesis.
  • Students will demonstrate a competence in application of their geological sciences knowledge to field research applications, including mapping, sequence analysis, paleo-environmental reconstruction, structural/tectonic history, and process reconstruction.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate their scientific knowledge and findings orally and in writing both at the professional scientific level and in lay terms.